On Hitting It Over the Fence
Tonight Ryan and I will be playing tennis, an activity we’ve been squeezing in about once a week lately. Ryan isn’t the first tennis opponent of my adult life. First there was Brian N, then Aaron E, then a different Ryan S and finally Ann. I rarely play actual games, so through the years, I have adopted a different metric to measure my tennis success:
How Many Times Did I Hit It Over the Fence?
Hitting it over the fence deprives you of a ball and it’s also quite embarrassing. A badge of shame. You have so little control, not only did the ball buck the confines of your particular court, it fled the whole tennis area altogether! It may have even crossed a street– that’s how horrible your hit was! So each outing I kept a little tally in my mind and when I finished, I could note my progress, “OOh I only hit it over the fence twice today!” or even better, “I didn’t hit it over ONCE!”
As Ryan and I have slowly improved (please note the slowly), I’ve had a paradigm shift. I noted we weren’t hitting it over the fence willy nilly. It wasn’t, “My serve! OH NOOOoooo!!” The few times we were hitting it over the fence was when we were taking on trickier shots. When we ran for that forehand we knew would be hard to get to or made one last desperate attempt by wacking over the back.
What we were doing was straying out of our comfort zone. We weren’t apathetically sweating and watching the ball bounce by while we caught our breath…at least not on that particular shot. We were going after challenges.
With that in mind, hitting it over the fence doesn’t seem like a necessarily bad thing anymore. It’s certainly not optimal and can still be embarrassing (especially since it seems almost always someone is sitting on their front porch staring in our direction). But at the same time, it shows we’re pushing ourselves.
So tonight, I hope I do push myself. I hope I DO hit it over the fence at least once.
Preferably just once.
And when no one’s looking.
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